AG-14-01-Colorado River Basin – Ag Land Dry-up

WHEREAS should drought conditions persist in the Colorado River Basin, projections show a serious near-term risk that water elevations in Lake Mead and Lake Powell could decline to levels that likely would trigger shortages to water users, interrupt or cut-off hydropower production and potentially lead to extensive conflicts between water uses, states and the federal government; and

WHEREAS in combination, the consequences of declining reservoir levels may cause a cessation of hydro-power production prior to Compact obligation curtailments.  This cessation would result in dramatic electricity cost increases across the west with attendant impacts greatest on rural Colorado and agriculture producers; and

WHEREAS continued declines in Lake Powell risks a Colorado River Compact curtailment resulting in upper Colorado River basin water right owners with priorities after the Compact losing their ability to divert adjudicated water; and

WHEREAS the result would be a crippling impact to agriculture, municipal/industrial users, Colorado’s economy and our environment; and

WHEREAS despite the severity of the consequences of such a scenario as described above, there is no emergency response plan should Lake Mead and Lake Powell approach or fall below critically low levels; and

WHEREAS a potential problem of this magnitude deserves careful consideration and engagement from a broad range of stakeholders committed to actively searching for solutions.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports careful and reasoned investigation and development of specific projects and programs that can achieve the objective of addressing system reservoir levels on the Colorado River; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports extensive and open communication with all affected Colorado River water right holders as necessary to identify specific needs, plans, and projects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports that the Upper Colorado River Basin must not be penalized for the lower Colorado River Basin’s overuse of Colorado River water; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports a balanced and just approach to water management in Colorado consistent with Colorado’s predication of water rights as property rights, and in the upper Colorado River Basin, CLUB 20 will advocate for a fair and equitable sharing of any impact among all users of the Colorado River; and

BE IT FURTHEER RESOLVED CLUB 20 supports industries, such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing, etc. that provide economic drivers supporting local communities, and the state of Colorado should not be uniquely targeted for focused dry-up on either an interim or permanent basis; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if agriculture fallowing in some form is used, it must be voluntary, temporary, fully-compensated, and used in conjunction with an equitable reduction in municipal and trans-mountain diversions.

(This resolution was jointly drafted by the CLUB 20 Agriculture and Water Committees)

 

Adopted 9/5/2014